Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Buying the Best Travel Insurance Policy: Here’s How!

As some of you might know, my first international trip was to Japan some 5 years ago. Then, I was a relaxed, carefree, optimistic girl, happy to see life through my rose-colored glasses. I had little concern over all the bizarre possibilities that could have occurred in my Japan yatra and the steps I could take to avoid the damage resulting from these unexpected situations.

'What would happen if I lost my baggage? Or if my passport got stolen? Or if the plane got canceled? Or if, God forbid, I met with an accident or got caught up in a health emergency requiring hospitalization? How would I cope with the loss? That too in a country not my own!' thoughts like these never really crossed my mind and neither did the significance of travel insurance.

Buying the Best Travel Insurance Policy
Safeguarding your hard-earned money is your responsibility.

In retrospect though, I can say that not worrying about the future then wasn’t really a bad position to be in. It’s just that today I have made the conscious choice to remove my rose-colored glasses and be realistic so that I am more aware of the uncertainties life comes with - including the unforeseen events that are not always pleasant to look at. Today, I make an effort to be prepared for the unfortunate events that are out of my control and do my best to minimize the impact they could have, on me or my family, maybe even avoid the impact completely.

Avoid the impact completely? Are you kidding me?!

No, I'm not. It's possible indeed!

But how?

Say hello to ‘Travel Insurance Policies!’

Here's all that I have learned about travel insurance in my journey till here and why I ask you to consider taking travel insurance as well!

But first, what is Travel Insurance?

It’s where you send the SOS call when things go awry, suddenly, in the blink of an eye. It’s your safety net to fall back on when things don’t all go as desired. It's a ray of sunshine when the clouds get all dark and grey. It’s an assured protection for your family and you against travel-related accidents that can happen anytime, including unexpected medical expenditure during travel, losses such as baggage loss, loss of passport etc. and interruption or delays in flights or delayed arrival of baggage etc. It ensures that you can travel in peace knowing that everything’s covered in case of any unforeseen event occurs, allowing you the space to make memories that you will cherish forever.

Is Travel Insurance worth it?

As much as we would like them to, things don’t always go as planned, do they? Look at the newspapers, blogs too, they are full of stories about accidents, mishaps, and events that are hard to imagine in reality. But truth be told, things happen, many of them completely out of our control, such is the beauty and vanity of life. Travel and worry aren’t a good combination to work with and can leave us completely drained. A wise person has rightly said, "If you can't afford travel insurance, then you can't afford to travel".

When I forgot my camera at the metro station counter in Japan, I went into a mini panic attack. The camera was important to me and I couldn’t afford losing it. I was fortunate to get my camera back, thanks to the kind officer at the counter. But still, I did lose my peace of mind for a few minutes and thinking about that episode still gives me jitters! When you invest your time, energy and money in buying a travel insurance, you don’t just buy travel insurance, you actually invest in your inner peace. 

Think about losing something that’s valuable to you – your money, your important documents and your health included – that can instantly rob your peace of mind in a foreign land. And then ask yourself the question:

Should I buy Travel Insurance?

Travel Insurance is peace of mind
Buying a god travel insurance is investing in your inner peace.

What does Travel Insurance cover?

Different policies cover different things for you. There are different kinds of travel insurance policies available to suit every kind of traveler, including student travel insurance policies. You can also customize a policy to match your needs. The options are many!

The type of cover that you will want to choose will depend on your needs: where are you traveling and from which location, the value of your belongings, what kind of adventure you will be embarking on, what activities you will be indulging in, and the potential risks that may be involved therein. According to an article in the Economic Times, the Centre for Investment Education and Learning (CIEL) states that a typical travel insurance generally covers:

  • Trip cancellation or delay due to sickness, injury or death in the family that result in a financial loss is typically covered by this policy.
  • Travel insurance offers protection against financial risks and covers your medical expenses if you fall sick while traveling.
  • Travel insurance provides cover against loss or theft of your baggage and passport. Some insurers also help to make arrangements for a temporary passport.
  • Emergency evacuation expenses, due to a natural calamity or terrorist activities, including the return flights home, are covered.
  • The policy covers the personal liability caused due to negligence resulting in a loss or damage to property or injury to a person who is not a member of your family or traveling party.

However, as I said above, do note that different policies provide different levels of protection for you, and the above list is not in any way exhaustive. So, read the fine print, ask questions, read articles online to understand the cover in depth and most importantly, take your own time to comprehend how exactly you are covered by the policy and if your needs are being met to your desired satisfaction.

Which is the best (and cheapest) Travel Insurance?

The best travel insurance policy is the one that provides the most value to you in accordance with your needs. Mind you, the best is NOT necessarily the cheapest travel policy available in the market.

To figure out the best, you need to consider the risks associated with your travel destination, how they fit in with your travel plans and assess your needs accordingly.

The best is the one which not only strings all your needs in a single thread of surety and satisfaction but also the one which can be trusted on a payout when things actually go wrong. It is important you know all the details of the coverage as haggling and fighting for what you thought was covered will only strain you further, adding to your inconvenience instead of minimizing it.

Take a travel insurance best suited to your needs
to have a stress-free vacation.

What are the points to keep in mind while buying Travel Insurance?

Read the fine print. I know, downright boring, isn't it? But do it, for your own sake, for your own safety and for your family’s. Then, thank yourself later. There is acap on the amount the travel policy is willing to pay should any of the covered potential risks occur (regardless of how much you claim for) – so before making the final call on the which policy to invest in, make sure you have understood and compared these caps.

Compare prices online, look out for deals, make calls, send emails, and if everything starts to get a bit too daunting for you, don’t hesitate to talk to a knowledgeable friend or your travel agent on which is the best policy that can provide good value for your money.

I consider myself truly blessed, I found my friend in my dad. At a time when I couldn’t have been concerned less about my financial or insurance needs, he helped me buy the best travel insurance, during my trip to Japan, then again to Melbourne so that today I understand how important it is to financially secure my travels and choose the best travel insurance for myself when I travel. I would any day buy a travel insurance policy costing me a few thousand rupees than see my bank account helplessly swiped off later if something goes horribly wrong! I am not even getting to the loss of my peace of mind.

Not only that, today I also understand that part of the fun is taking on responsibility because responsibility, in turn, makes way for freedom. The only question that remains then, is are you prepared to carry it?

Are You Covered_How to buy the best travel insurance policy India

Do you buy travel insurance and financially secure your trips?
What advice would you give on buying the best travel insurance?
Share your thoughts in the comment section.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Birla Temple or Gita Mandir Mathura, Uttar Pradesh.

Horse statues displayed in the Gita temple premises,Mathura

“The power of God is with you at all times;
through the activities of mind, senses, breathing, and emotions;
and is constantly doing all the work using you as a mere instrument.”
~ Bhagavad Gita.


The holy cities of Mathura and Vrindavan are peppered with numerous shrines and temples celebrating the naughty and playful spirit of Lord Krishna who spent a considerable time of His childhood in the bylanes here. Out of the many beautiful temples in Mathura a yatri looks to visit, one of the temples to visit is Birla Temple or Gita Mandir. Built by the renowned industrialist Birla group and spread in a huge sprawling complex, Shree Bhagwat Gita Temple or more popularly Gita Mandir or Gita Bhavan or Birla Temple is not only one of the main places to visit in Mathura and Vrindavan but also a fine example in architecture and craftsmanship.

Gita Mandir Mathura: Main Attraction of Gita Mandir! 

The main gate of the Gita Mandir premises, Mathura Vrindavan
Entrance to the Gita Temple

The main temple walls embody beautiful paintings and thought provoking shlokas / inscriptions from the chapters of the most sacred text of the Hindus – Shreemad Bhagwad Gita which is undoubtedly the main attraction of this temple. I paused and read the words at various places, and though I could not pick up the meaning each time, I did pick up the vibe. Yes, those words, articulated by Lord Krishna to his Pandava disciple Arjuna in the battlefield during the Kurukshetra War eons ago, still hold mettle and have an undeniable energy of their own!

Gita Mandir Entrance, Mathura Vrindavan
The Gita Temple

Deities in Gita Mandir.

The sanctum room enshrines beautiful deities of Radha-Krishna flanked by two additional sanctum rooms occupied by deities of Ram-Sita and Laxmi-Narayana.

Gita Bhavan temple Entrance in Mathura Vrindavan
Entrance to the temple room

Other Attractions of the Gita Mandir Complex.

Exactly opposite the main sanctum outside the temple room and facing the Lord, sits the divine bird Garuda with folded hands, the vehicle of Lord Vishnu.

Garud Bird, Gita Temple
Bird Garuda, the charioteer of Lord Vishnu

Apart from the main temple, the complex also houses a towering Gita Stambh, an epitome of victory of truth over evil,

Gita Sthamb, Gita Mandir, Mathura
Gita Sthamb, with Bhagvad Gita Shlokas
from all 18 chapters inscribed on it.

... a figurine in red stone depicting Lord Krishna as the charioteer reciting the Bhagvad Gita to his disciple and devotee Arjuna in the battlefield,

Bhagavad Gita inscription Gita Mandir - Mathura
A Scene depicting an incident from the Mahabharata Battle field

... and a Hanuman Temple.

Gita Mandir Birla Temple, Mathura Vrindavan
Lord Hanuman Temple inside the Gita temple complex

Overall, the place is pretty clean and very well maintained and it’s easy to sense peace all around amid the lush green gardenscape. Once you take your time to soak in the beauty, it’s easy to gauge why the temple finds a significant spot in one of the must-visit places in Mathura and Vrindavan!

How to Reach Gita Mandir?

Location of Gita Temple: 5 kms. from Mathura. You can easily visit this temple enroute to Vrindavan from Mathura or include it when visiting the various other temples in Mathura. There are lots of temples nearby Gita Mandir, Mathura that you can integrate in your itinerary - so plan your trip accordingly.

Gita Mandir Temple Timings: The temple remains open from 6 in the morning to 7 in the evening, all the seven days of the week. Various rituals and prayers are offered to the Lord throughout the day. 

Best time to visit the Gita Temple: If you want to soak in the real atmosphere, you can try to plan a visit to the temple during the Holi or Janmashtami festival which are celebrated with great pomp and fervour!

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